That has been one side of the story. The other side is no less important. In fact it is more important because it relates to the human dimension. It would not be unfair to suggest that despite this unprecedented economic growth, technological transformation and material affluence; human predicament remains unalleviated. Poverty, human misery, deprivation and unemployment have not been lifted off the brows of mankind. Crime, violence, suppression of human rights, disintegration of family values, wars of aggrandizement, and victimization of the innocent and the weak are rampant. The two great wars witnessed in the 20th century have taken a toll of human life, which surpasses the total loss of life and property in wars over the last fifty centuries. If the human cost of the First World War (1914-8) was about fifteen million people (civil and military personnel taken together) the death toll inflicted on human beings by the Second World War (1939-45) exceeded fifty-one million. Over 128 regional and civil wars after the Second World War have consumed another over 30 million human beings. And there is no end to the reign of terror and destruction. The weapons of mass destruction in the possession of USA and Russia despite significant reduction in numbers via SALT treaties, are enough to destroy the entire world over fifteen times. Israel alone has an arsenal that can destroy half of the world. And there is no end to further expansion and sophistication of the war machines. Despite all economic achievements, monetary miracles, technological transformations and material affluence the fundamental problems continue to stare humanity in the face. Forty per cent of the world population lives in poverty and around twenty per cent in abject poverty. And poverty is not merely the fate of the Third World countries. Even in the richest country of the world, the USA, where 5.8 per cent of world population owns 25 per cent of the total wealth of the world, one in every four children is born in poverty. In fact the world has become more unjust, more exploitative, and more unstable. Greed and not need has become the moving spirit. Justice to all and well being of the downtrodden are no longer the guiding stars. Hard facts reveal a state of affairs very different from the glossy slogans, conceited claims and sugarcoated statistics.
Source: Contemporary Economic Challenges and Islam, Khurshid Ahmed. Republished with permission.
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